Undergraduate Student Success Story: Leigh Federici

Leigh Federici is a December 2019 graduate at the University of Connecticut, with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and a concentration in Water & Climate Resources. Leigh was recently an intern at the Bureau of Land Management. Here is a glimpse of how this internship helped Leigh enhance his professional development:

Victoria Kuryan: What was the interview process like?

Leigh Federici: I submitted my application for the internship through Arab-American Business & Professional Association around January. Within a few weeks, I received an email stating that I had passed through the initial review process and may be contacted by a supervisor for a phone interview. I received an email from a supervisor soon after to schedule a phone interview. I had the interview within a week, which lasted about 30 minutes. Around mid-March, I received my acceptance offer for the internship.

VK: What were some of the projects you worked on?

LF: I worked on a long-term project to complete the retracement and resurvey of Township 17 North, Range 103 West, also known as the Sweeney Ranch Double Corner Investigation and Resurvey. The first phase of the project consisted of an intensive search over the 36-sq-mi Township for 19th and early 20th century stone survey monuments set by the U.S. General Land Office contract land surveyors. During this phase, field measurements were made to all recovered monuments using precision survey-grade GPS equipment. The second phase consisted of analyzing the evidence recovered during the first phase, research, and subsequent resurvey to resolve the location/description ambiguities created by these surveys. The final phase consisted of the monumentation of all survey corners with updated survey markers.

VK: Was there anything that stood out about the company that made you want to pursue the internship?

LF: The intern is technically employed by the Arab-American Business & Professional Association, or another vendor, and functions as a contractor working for the Bureau of Land Management. The internships offered by the Bureau of Land Management are part of their Direct Hire Program. Once an intern completes the 11-weeks of the internship, they are eligible for non-competitive employment at jobs within the Department of the Interior for two years, starting once they graduate. As I will be graduating this December, I saw this as a great opportunity to make connections as well as a possible career choice.

VK: What were some of the skills you developed during your experience?

LF: I gained hands-on field experience working as a land surveyor. In a few short weeks, I was able to survey independently in the field. I also gained experience working with GPS equipment and strengthened my GIS, data management, and data analysis skills. The internship also required me to interact with the public to ensure access to public lands.

VK: What was the most meaningful aspect of your experience?

LF: I really enjoyed working with all the people at the Rock Springs Field Office, especially my supervisor, Olian Shockley. I loved being out in the field every day, performing meaningful work that would have a future impact.

VK: What are your plans for after graduation?

LF: I am planning to move to Washington D.C. after graduation. I am hoping to obtain a job related to environmental consulting / land surveying / GIS/water resources!

By Victoria Kuryan
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